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Picasso painting in light, 1949

27 Nov

Izis’s Photographs

21 Nov

Israëlis Bidermanas (1911–1980), who worked under the name of Izis, was a Jewish-Lithuanian photographer who worked in France and is best known for his photographs of French circuses and of Paris.

Born in Marijampole, Lithuania, Bidermanas arrived in France in 1930 both to escape Anti-Semitism as well as to become a painter. In 1933 he directed a photographic studio in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris. During World War II, being a Jew, he had to leave occupied Paris. He went to Ambazac, in the Limousin, where he adopted the pseudonym Izis and where he was arrested and tortured by the Nazis. He was freed by the French Resistance and became an underground fighter. At that time he photographed his companions, including Colonel Georges Guingouin. The poet and underground fighter Robert Giraud was the first to write about Izis in the weekly magazine Unir, a magazine created by the Resistance. [Wikipedia]

Odd and Rare Phobias

20 Nov


The first photographs of people

17 Nov

The first permanent photograph (later accidentally destroyed) was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His photographs were produced on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea, which he then dissolved in white petroleum. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light. The unhardened material may then be washed away and the metal plate polished, rendering a positive image with light regions of hardened bitumen and dark regions of bare pewter. Niépce then began experimenting with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1727 that silver nitrate (AgNO3) darkens when exposed to light. [via Wikipedia]

Nicéphore Niépce’s earliest surviving photograph of a scene from nature, circa 1826, “View from the Window at Le Gras,” Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (France).

“Boulevard du Temple”, taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839, was the first-ever photograph of people. It is an image of a busy street, but because exposure time was over ten minutes, the city traffic was moving too much to appear. The exceptions are the two people in the bottom left corner, one who stood still getting his boots polished by the other long enough to show up in the picture.

Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, Oct. or Nov. 1839, approximate quarter plate daguerreotype.
The back reads, “The first light picture ever taken.” This self-portrait is the first photographic
portrait image of a human ever produced.

Before the recent discovery of the Cornelius photo, this was the oldest known photograph portrait,
made by Dr. Joseph Draper of New York in 1840. The subject is his sister, Anna Katherine Draper.

A calotype print showing the American photographer Frederick Langenheim (circa 1849).
Note, the caption on the photo calls the process Talbotype

Roger Fenton’s assistant seated on Fenton’s photographic van, Crimea, 1855

General view of The Crystal Palace at Sydenham by Philip Henry Delamotte

Mid 19th century “Brady stand” photo model’s armrest table, meant to keep portrait models more still during long exposure times (studio equipment nicknamed after the famed US photographer, Mathew Brady)

First color image, photograph by James Clerk Maxwell, 1861

A photographer appears to be photographing himself in a 19th-century photographic studio. Note clamp to hold the poser’s head still. A 1893 satire on photographic procedures already becoming obsolete at the time

1930s Society Women Dressed as Mythological Figures

27 Oct

Yevonde Cumbers Middleton (January 5, 1893 – December 22, 1975) was an English photographer, who pioneered the use of colour in portrait photography. She used the professional name Madame Yevonde.

Yevonde’s most famous work was inspired by a theme party held on March 5, 1935, where guests dressed as Roman and Greek gods and goddesses. Yevonde subsequently took studio portraits of many of the participants (and others), in appropriate costume and surrounded by appropriate objects. This series of prints showed Yevonde at her most creative, using colour, costume and props to build an otherworldly air around her subjects. She went on to produce further series based on the signs of the zodiac and the months of the year. Partly influenced by surrealist artists, particularly Man Ray, Yevonde used surprising juxtapositions of objects which displayed her sense of humour.

Madame Yevonde, The Honorable Mrs Bryan Guinness as Venus

Madame Yevonde, Mrs Edward Mayer as Medusa

Madame Yevonde, Mrs Anthony Eden as Clio, the Muse of History

Madame Yevonde, Nadine, Countess of Shrewsbury as Ariadne

Madame Yevonde, Lady Milbanke as Penthelisa, Queen of the Amazons

Madame Yevonde, Mrs Charles Sweeny (Margaret, Duchess of Argyll) as Helen of Troy

Madame Yevonde, Lady Michael Balcon as Minerva

Madame Yevonde, Lady Bridgett Poulett as Arethusa

Madame Yevonde, Eileen Hunter (Mrs Ward Jackson) as Dido

Madame Yevonde, Lady Anne Rhys poses as the goddess Flora

Madame Yevonde, Baroness Gagern as Europa

Madame Yevonde, Dorothy, Duchess of Welington as Hecate

Madame Yevonde, Mrs Richard Hart-Davis as Ariel


Incredible Photographs from the 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition

25 Oct

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition was a team of Australasian scientists that ventured to Antarctica in 1911, exploring the land until their return in 1914.

(Photos via the National Library of Australia Commons and Flavorwire)

B&W photographs from LIFE Magazine in 1958

10 Oct